* Won down on offshore funds selling; fund inflows,
* Taiwan dlr, ringgit down on pre-holiday US dlr-short
* Philippine peso dip on position adjustments; inflows limit
* Rupiah up on foreign banks demand' exporters seen
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 The won fell against dollar on
Friday as investors fretted about the impact of a weaker yen on
South Korean's export competitiveness while short-covering
dollar positions in other emerging market currencies ahead of
holidays next week.
The Taiwan dollar and the Malaysian ringgit
were among the currencies that fell as traders adjusted
their positions ahead of the Lunar New Year when markets will be
A stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data for January
helped cut losses for regional units as it boosted hopes for a
recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
Still, Asian currencies are likely to stay under pressure as
long as the yen remains soft, analysts and dealers said. That
especially hurts South Korean exporters who compete with
Other regional authorities have also expressed concern over
hot money inflows stemming from easy monetary conditions in the
"A weaker yen will limit other Asian FX appreciation. Japan
is a competitor with selected Asian economies for exports,
especially Korea," said BNP Paribas currency strategist Thio
Chin Loo in Singapore.
The won slid as offshore investors including
hedge funds sold the currency. But exporters demand before the
Lunar New Year holidays and bond inflows capped its downside,
The South Korean currency earlier weakened to 1,097.2 per
dollar, its weakest since Feb. 1, before ending the local trade
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd said it
had won a 1.73 trillion Korean won ($1.59 billion) order from a
European country, causing expectation of more won demand.
Still, the won is likely to stay weak on sustained caution
over possible intervention by the authorities, dealers said.
"They will continue to intervene whenever the won jump and
the won's high is getting weaker. The won may try to weaken past
1,100 if there is any risk event from North Korea," said a
senior foreign bank trader in Seoul.
Earlier this week, Pyongyang stepped up its bellicose
rhetoric, threatening to go beyond carrying out a promised third
nuclear test in response to what it believes are "hostile"
sanctions imposed after a December rocket launch.
The ringgit eased in subdued trading before holidays on
The Malaysian currency recovered some of earlier losses
after stronger-than-expected China's trade data.
Still, investors remained reluctant to add bullish bets on
the ringgit, especially on sustained concerns over the election
due by mid-2013.
"The worries are still ongoing," said a senior Malaysian
bank trader in Kuala Lumpur.
The Taiwan dollar fell as investors covered short positions
in U.S. dollar before the Chinese New Year holidays.
Domestic exporters bought the island's currency for
settlements, but demand was not as strong as earlier this week.
Taiwan's foreign exchange market will be closed for whole
of the next week.
The Philippine peso slid on dollar-short covering, although
it recovered much of losses on inflows, dealers said.
"People did not want to take positions ahead of the Chinese
New Year holidays. But with inflows, I am sure there is a still
room for the peso to go higher," said a foreign bank trader in
The peso is expected to head to 40.55 per dollar, but the
central bank is unlikely to allow it to strengthen past the
level, he added.
Assistant central bank governor Cyd Amador said: "the
central bank will never practice benign neglect in terms of
The rupiah slightly rose due to demand from foreign
banks and exporters, traders said.
The demand appeared to be related to stock inflows, they
Dollar bids from domestic importers capped the rupiah's
upside, but their demand was weaker than before, traders said.
"As corporate client's dollar demand retreated, it will test
9,670," said a Jakarta-based trader, referring to the rupiah's
value to the dollar.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0803 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 92.88 93.69 +0.87
Sing dlr 1.2388 1.2396 +0.06
Taiwan dlr 29.725 29.630 -0.32
Korean won 1095.65 1088.30 -0.67
Baht 29.78 29.76 -0.07
Peso 40.68 40.64 -0.10
Rupiah 9672.00 9690.00 +0.19
Rupee 53.60 53.22 -0.71
Ringgit 3.0985 3.0915 -0.23
Yuan 6.2350 6.2322 -0.04
Change so far in 2013
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 92.88 86.79 -6.56
Sing dlr 1.2388 1.2219 -1.36
Taiwan dlr 29.725 29.136 -1.98
Korean won 1095.65 1070.60 -2.29
Baht 29.78 30.61 +2.79
Peso 40.68 41.05 +0.92
Rupiah 9672.00 9630.00 -0.43
Rupee 53.60 54.99 +2.59
Ringgit 3.0985 3.0580 -1.31
Yuan 6.2350 6.2303 -0.08
($1 = 1088.1000 Korean won)
(Additional reporting by Yena Park in SEOUL, Karen Lema in
MANILA and Emily Chan in TAIPEI; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)